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Has your consultancy prepared for the IR35 changes happening in April 2020?

20 October 2019 by Darren Hall
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​Has your consultancy prepared for the IR35 changes happening in April 2020?

After Brexit, one of the largest concerns for our clients and consultants has arguably been the roll out of changes to off-payroll working, or IR35, into the private sector. At Skillfinder International, we’re a consultancy that embraces change of any kind – and we’ve taken every step to ensure that workers still have access to the best assignments, and clients continue to receive the same access to the SME Consultants we provide whilst still reducing project liability under IR35. Here’s what you need to know about our IR35 preparations.

Financial Consultancy IR35 Preparations – The importance of communication

The very first step in our IR35 preparations as a financial consultancy was to make sure that we were clear in all communications with clients and consultants. As a strategic partner, it was important that we quickly ascertained the main challenges clients were facing, and modelled our strategy based around them. By doing this, and keeping clients regularly updated, we limited the negative effect of uncertainty and received invaluable feedback which fed in to our solution. Whilst we have been working in close partnership with many of our global clients that have UK operations, we have developed a robust and intuitive solution that will reduce and manage the impact of IR35 whilst still being able to maintain strategic scoping within a Statement of Work model. Our clients have already seen the advantages of working in this way.

Our solution: Easing the burden on clients & consultants

The main outcome from our financial consultancy’s IR35 preparations was to provide our services via a Statement of Work (SoW) model. Our strategy is the result of nearly 12 months of hard work and preparation and is designed to provide both our clients and consultants with unchanged access short term project consultancy without absorbing the liability IR35 is impressing upon the market.

By delivering our project teams under a SoW model, we can we take on an entire project of work for a client, rather than providing individuals on a normal T&M basis – where there is a greater risk of ‘inside IR35 status determinations’. This avoids any question around whether consultants are ‘disguised employees’, removing liability under IR35.

This also changes the way we do business. Instead of simply providing individuals, we will be working to key deliverables and milestones therefore the engagement becomes focused on the outcome rather than the project team which ensures accountability to us the outsourced vendor. As a result of our extensive preparation, we are now fully equipped to manage this model ensuring service delivery reporting to keep the client up to date and payment structures which look at the outcome and not the accrued time.

Additionally, while many clients may think that SoW arrangements sound complex, they may present opportunities for greater insight and ability to track ROI on all non-employed resources. This could result in a number of benefits, such as smarter hiring, optimised performance and ultimately, cost savings.

Project Services

Our updated model that will incorporate SoW is called Project Services. This mode of engaging will be specifically tailored to meet client needs, and flexible to allow for scaling to match business demands. Statement of Work contracts will avoid liability under IR35, while robust reporting with a dedicated on-site engagement manager will ensure careful attention to detail.

When a client engages us under Project Services, we will begin with a scoping session to uncover specific outcomes, and then draft the SoW, which will include all elements for accurate measuring and reporting.

Finally, led by an on-site engagement manager, consultants will be on-boarded and a dashboard will be created. This will be supplemented by service reporting, which will include monthly review meetings to ensure the project is finished to completion. After the work is ends, the project will be signed off, consultants off-boarded and the SoW closed.

New opportunities ahead

Ultimately, while posing several challenges, IR35 is just one of many factors affecting the market that need to be addressed. At Skillfinder, we know that as the economy more generally moves towards greater use of non-employed professionals – there will be opportunities to add value for our clients and consultants.

With the right attitude, preparation for regulatory changes like IR35 can offer a chance to create innovative modes of operation, and build a future proof way of engaging talent. We believe we can do this, and that our SoW model will not only help us adapt to legislative changes – but also provide new ways for our clients and candidates to thrive.

Looking for talent? At Skillfinder International we have a wealth of experience in sourcing highly skilled tech workers across 22 countries globally. We can meet your recruitment needs in a compliant and cost-effective fashion, from now and beyond IR35.

Contact us today